Two Abbotsford, British Columbia, men were arrested Saturday by Bellingham police in connection with a lottery scam that cheated its victims of thousands of dollars.
James Richard Jongkind, and Daniel Mark Duerksen, both 25, were apprehended in a lottery fraud investigation that involves victims from across the United States.
"We are expecting to discover more victims and greater monetary losses as this investigation continues," said Police Chief Randall Carroll in a press release.
The investigation was sparked by the complaint of a 57-year-old California woman who called police Jan. 2 saying she'd been scammed out of $8,200.
The woman received a call in December from a man who identified himself as James Sithe, claiming to represent the Bank of America, who said she'd won $850,000.
The man told the victim that to claim her winnings she'd have to pay a one per cent cash fee to an attorney named John Anthony at an address in Bellingham.
The woman sent the cash and never heard from anyone again.
Police Detectives checked the address in Bellingham and discovered it was an active postal drop box which had just received another package.
After obtaining a search warrant police discovered another $3,000 cash had been sent from a man in Pennsylvania, who after being contacted, told them a story similar to that of the woman from California.
Officers put another package into the mail box and lay in wait for the suspects until they arrived to pick up the parcel.
Jongkind was arrested as he picked up the package, as was Duerksen who drove Jongkind to the outlet.
Jongkind claims to have been acting as a courier for an unknown man in B.C.
Both men have been charged with first degree theft.
Bellingham Police said further charges are expected as the investigation continues and that there are at least four other victims from different areas in the United States with losses may be close to $50,000.
Anyone who told they have won a lottery and must send money to any address in Washington State to receiving their winnings should call the Sgt. Ken Brown at the Bellingham Police Department at 360-676-6925.